15 Apr 2010

Labour criticises PM over nuclear summit

6:20 pm on 15 April 2010

Labour Party leader Phil Goff has criticised the Prime Minister for failing to take a leadership role at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington this week.

Mr Goff says John Key should have done more at the conference to promote initiatives designed to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Mr Goff says the new approach of the United States President Barack Obama has changed the political environment around the nuclear issue and that provided an opportunity for Mr Key to have promoted stronger initiatives at the summit.

Mr Goff says the statement New Zealand tabled was bland and devoid of any initiatives or proposals to push the issue forward.

Mr Key is in Canada on the last leg of his trip and has refused to respond to Mr Goff's criticism.

NZ funds to help stop trafficking

New Zealand is to give $685,000 to a Canadian project to help prevent illegal trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials from Russia.

Mr Key made the announcement in Ottawa. The project is part of a G8 global partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The money will fund radiation detection equipment for a major Russian nuclear facility.

Mr Key says the project is a practical way for New Zealand to help reduce the risk of nuclear materials ending up in the wrong hands.

He also announced that New Zealand will work more closely with Canada on science in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, including a project to measure sea ice thickness and the effects of climate change in polar regions.